Configuring an Airport Base Station
I have recently re-worked the configuration guide to better reflect new features and the idiosyncrasies of the various base stations. If your bookmark went bad due to the reconfiguration of the site, please accept my apology. However, I hope that you will find the new guides to be improved substantially.
While Apple advocates the use of its Assistant to set up ABS', I prefer using the admin utility. There are a number of Admin Utilities out there. Even better, Apple has individual feature-sets by station. Thus, the windows for each base station will look different. I have tried to create several guides that hopefully will be useful. They are categorized by operating system and base station variety.
Before you continue, please be sure to be using Apple Airport Software version 2.0.4 on OS 9 (download here), or version 4.0.1 when using Mac OS X (download here) or Windows 2000-XP (download here). Otherwise, what you'll see on your screen will not match my screenshots and the instructions may be really confusing. You can get this information from the "About Airport" pull-down menu when you launch your Airport Admin Utility.
Here are the sets I have created thus far.
- Version 2.0.4 Apple Admin Utility (Mac OS9)
- Graphite ABS. Should be applicable to "Snow" ABS as well.
- As far as I know, the "Extreme" ABS is not compatible with the older Admin Utility.
- Version 4.0.1 Airport Admin Utility (Mac OS X or Windows 2000-XP)
Similarly, I have not yet played with a "Extreme" base station or Airport "Express"that has the modem option using version 4.0.1 of the Apple Admin Software. Once again, a blank config file would be great. Just send them by e-mail, they're pretty small.
Which Airport Version are You Using?
A short version history from a user perspective:
- Version 1.0 and 1.1 or Airport are to be avoided. Either was little better than beta grade software and some readers implicated version 1.1 for FlashROM failures.
- Version 1.2 fixed most prior bugs and was very stable. Version 1.3 added PPPoE support but was buggy (the dreaded -3278 error).
- Version 1.3.1 fixed most of the new bugs.
- Version 2.0 added support for AOL dialup connections, 128 bit encryption ("Snow" only), and other minor enhancements.
- Version 2.0.4 is the last Administrative Utility released for OS 9 and it only works for "Graphite" and "Snow" base stations.
- Version 3.0 is released for OS X and Windows 2000-XP only. It allows you to configure AOL-DSL connections for "Graphite" and "Snow" base stations (which the older ABS software cannot). Version 3 also takes advantage of the many new features built into "Extreme" Base Stations.
- Version 3.1 Adds Automatic Channel Selection, better 802.11g compatibility, simpler WDS setup, better interference robustness, and DHCP range selection for "Extreme" base stations.
- Version 3.2 Adds WPA security and Relay mode for "Extreme" base stations. However, WPA is only available for computers with "Airport Extreme" hardware and OS X 10.3
- Version 3.3 Adds WPA support for computers with non-"Extreme" Airport cards and OS X 10.3
To find out what version of Airport is installed on your computer, click once on the airport application icon, then select "get info" from the File menu. Or start up the airport software and select "About Airport" from under the Apple menu.